Watermelon Salad with Cotija, Jicama, and Lime

Favorite SummerQuick and EasyMexicanWatermelon

South of the border spin on watermelon salad! With fresh watermelon, jicama, cilantro, and cotija cheese.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

Hot days are here! Today we are cooling off with a crisp watermelon salad with a southwestern flair. It’s sort of a spin off of a classic watermelon salad with feta and mint, but with cotija instead of feta, and cilantro in place of the mint.

Melons love salt (think prosciutto and cantaloup). In fact, if you just want to give a slice of watermelon some extra pizzaz, sprinkle just a little salt on it.

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Both feta and its Mexican sister cotija are dry, crumbly, salty cheeses. Perfect for tossing into a melon salad.

We’ve also added crunchy jicama, some red onion, and a little bit of heat with some minced serrano chile and a pinch of cumin. Everything is tossed with lime juice.

So you are getting a little sweet from the melon, salty from the cheese, tangy from the lime, herbiness from the cilantro, spiciness from the chiles, and crunch from the jicama.

Watermelon Salad with Cotija

Now that I think about it, with the lime juice, sweet melon, and salty cheese, this salad has all of the elements (acid, sugar, salt, water from the melon) of an electrolyte sports drink, you know, the kind you drink after working out to rehydrate you.

So, another great reason to enjoy this salad on a hot day. It will keep you hydrated, and it tastes way better than gatorade!

Watermelon Salad with Cotija, Jicama, and Lime Recipe

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 3 to 4

Individual chiles vary in their heat, so always taste before adding to a dish, and adjust amounts accordingly.


  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion
  • 1/4 cup lime juice (2-3 limes, depending on how big and juicy the limes are)
  • 4 cups watermelon, rind removed, seeded and cubed into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup crumbled cotija cheese
  • 1/2 to 1 cup chopped peeled jicama
  • 1/2 serrano chili pepper (or a quarter jalapeño), stem removed, seeded, minced
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Pinch of cumin, to taste


1 Soak the chopped red onion in the lime juice while you are prepping the other ingredients, about 10 minutes.

2 Gently combine all ingredients into a large serving bowl.

Serve immediately. Salad will get soggy if kept overnight.

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Tomato Watermelon Salad on SteamyKitchen.com

Watermelon Salad with Feta and Mint here on Simply Recipes

Spicy Watermelon Avocado Salad on Love & Lemons

Thai Watermelon Salad on Shutterbean

Watermelon Salad with Cotija

Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

More from Elise

10 Comments / Reviews

No ImageWatermelon Salad with Cotija, Jicama, and Lime

Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Alana

    This is like the watermelon salsa I loved on my Carnival Cruises from the Blue Iguana Cantina! Goes great with chicken tacos or the sweet breakfast arepas. It’s so refreshing and cool. A great option for littles who don’t like spice too!


  2. Daria

    Hi, OK, so I have all the ingredients in the house and I plan on making this tomorrow to keep in my fridge when I get the urge to snack on something I probably shouldn’t. I’ve never had Jicama before and it seems like I should cook it. Can I just peel and eat it raw?

    Show Replies (1)
  3. Lefkios

    Staying on the subject of watermelons, I think that you’ll find interesting a recipe that is a specialty in the Greek island of Milos, for a watermelon pie.
    I found it amazing how can you make a pie with a fruit that is 96% water.
    ‘Karpouzopita’ in Greek, this video is from the Elias Mamalakis tv show, ‘Mpoukia & Sychorio’ which roughly translates into ‘thanking God with every bite!’ Speaking about catchy titles! This episode was filmed in Milos, of course, but in Greek, I’m afraid. I believe it will give you an idea how this pie is made. About half of a small to medium watermelon, sugar, honey, ground cinnamon, olive oil and sesame seeds. About 45 min. in a 180 Celsius oven.
    This show was not only about cooking, but also of the history and culture of the different places and countries it visited.

  4. Miss Sage Sugar

    Yum! A lovely fresh salad :)

  5. barb

    Put salt on all the fruit I eat……..brings out the flavor. This salads screams it’s summer. The jicama is a great addition.

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